Asaro mud men, also known as Holosa, are a Papua New Guinean indigenous group from Goroka village. These soldiers are well-known for winning battles by using people’s fear of ghosts. They accomplish this by “transforming” into spirits before assaulting their foes.
On the banks of the Asaro River, which runs through the rich Markham and Ramu valleys, reside Asaro mud men. The highlander tribes are always at odds over possession of these valleys and other gold deposits in the area. The Asaro mud men have figured out how to scare the enemies away. They dress up in carefully crafted traditional costumes and mud masks.
In this highland, ghosts are dreaded phenomena. To placate the gods, locals frequently offer sacrifices. They think the gods live in the nearby forests, rivers, and caverns.
The Asaro mud men have won battles by using their opponents’ fear of ghosts over the years. They put on mud masks and use white clay to paint their faces. The Asaro’s then approach the opponent softly and gracefully.
Asaro’s mud men have governed the Markham and Ramu valleys for decades using this strategy.
How The Asaro Mud Men’s Ideology Began
The origin of the Asaro mud men has been disputed. According to one version of the event, Asaro’s mud men doctrine began as they were about to be defeated in the battle. An older guy in their town had a dream about that time in which he encountered a terrible gray spirit.
When he awoke, he created a mud mask that resembled the vision he had seen in his dream. The attackers fled as the Asaro warriors donned the mud mask, never to be seen again. Asaro’s tribe was imbued with the mud mask mentality from that point on.
According to the second version of the narrative, the Asaro mud men’s ideology began when one of the Asaro’s married. Except for one visitor who couldn’t find a formal wedding costume, everyone at the celebration dressed in traditional attire.
An idea came to him, and he decided to dress up in an old string bag. He dipped the sack in mud and cut two holes for his eyes. He also smeared mud on his skin. When he arrived at the wedding, everyone mistook him for a ghost and fled.
It was from this that the man created the concept of winning a battle.
According to another source, this myth began after the Asaro mud men were defeated by an enemy tribe and retreated to the Asaro River. They encountered a man at the river who granted them eyes to murder. After that, the Asaro mud men waited until dusk to flee. As they did so, the guy who had been granted the eyes to kill was seized, and the adversaries watched him emerge from the muddy banks.
He was smeared in mud, leading them to believe he was a spirit, and he fled, allowing the Asaro man to flee. When the Asaro’s returned to the village, they discovered fearful adversaries performing rituals to drive the “spirits” away.
These indigenous people devised a new strategy for defeating their foes right there. However, there was a snag. Because the mud from the river was poisonous, the Asaros couldn’t use it to cover their faces. They decided to build masks out of heated pebbles and water right then and there.
There is no single story of the Asaro mud men’s ideology’s genesis. Nonetheless, this strategy has aided the indigenous people in a variety of ways. The Asaro’s are a big tourist attraction in Papua New Guinea, in addition to dominating the lush country for decades.